How Much Do REALTORS Spend on Marketing Tools in 2018?

A recent study commissioned by Real Estate Webmasters has discovered the top marketing tools used by real estate professionals and reveals spending trends that will likely occur in 2018.

In 2017, a 53% majority of real estate professionals spent less than $5,000 on their annual marketing efforts, including both online and offline avenues. However, 1 in 8 real estate agents spent more than $20,000 in the year, with the top 3% spending more than $80,000 on their marketing.

“I invest 10 to 15% of my annual GCI into marketing and 80% of that investment is into online channels, including my website, search engine optimization, and pay per click advertising,” said Lauren Spencer, a Santa Cruz Realtor whose sales put her in the top 1% of all Coldwell Banker agents. “As a result of this investment, approximately 50% of my clients find me online, although we still invest in traditional newspaper and magazine marketing too.”

“The opportunity in the digital space is massive and smart real estate agents have caught on,” said Morgan Carey, CEO of Real Estate Webmasters.

“The most ambitious agents are focusing on their website and online marketing because that’s where today’s clients are coming from.”

The quantitative study of 300 active agents, team leaders, and brokers also revealed that websites and digital marketing are the top marketing tools used by real estate professionals today. 70% of those surveyed had a website, while 38% actively advertise in social media. The next most popular advertising channel was local newspaper advertising at 26% and search engine marketing at 23%. Other advertising channels used by more than 10% of real estate professionals include local sponsorships, magazines, online display ads and door-to-door flyers.


“Years ago, we used to be old fashioned using print as our main marketing channel and we shifted to an online platform six years ago, reallocating that marketing spend to Real Estate Webmasters,” said Diane Johnson, Operating Principal at the Austin Keller Williams Realty Southwest Market Center. “Investing in our web presence is important because it gives me stories I can tell. I want to be able to tell any potential recruit that we’re out there spending these marketing dollars to help you get more business.”

When asked about their plans for the next year, at least 1 in 4 real estate professionals said they intend to invest more in their web platform spending (website, CRM, hosting), while only 1 in 10 real estate professionals were likely to spend less.

The spending intention for search engine optimization (SEO) and other forms of online advertising was similar to that of web platforms, with nearly all respondents planning to spend the same or more in the coming year.

In nearly all categories, real estate professionals with a higher GCI were more likely to maintain or increase their marketing investments in the coming year. The one notable exception was pay per click advertising, in which all income-earners had similar spending plans for 2018.

“Our real estate clients are investing in three core areas: SEO, pay per click, and paid social media. SEO and PPC are tried and true, and they’ve long been the backbone of almost every successful strategy we’ve seen. But agents across all income levels have also figured out that platforms like Facebook provide huge opportunity to generate new leads as well, so the industry is naturally gravitating towards social advertising in 2018,” said Morgan Carey.

About this study

Commissioned by Real Estate Webmasters, the quantitative survey was conducted by independent market research firm Concerto Marketing and included data from 300 active real estate professionals in urban and suburban regions, with their location evenly split between the United States and Canada. The research was conducted in October 2017.


Real Estate Webmasters creates technology that helps Realtors® generate leads through beautifully designed websites, and convert those leads into sales with CRM software that keeps them on top of their game. Founded in 2004 in Nanaimo, B.C., Real Estate Webmasters has over 60,000 real estate professionals on their platform.